You may have heard that the shorter your resume is, the better. In the US, the one-page resume is the gold standard, and it has been recommended for years. Yet the two-page resume is growing increasingly popular, and some believe it may even give candidates an advantage.
Read on as we answer the question: Is a two-page resume ok? And if so, what’s the best way to structure it?
On average, recruiters spend just 7.4 seconds looking at a resume. In that context, a one-page resume makes sense. By cutting out all the fluff, you can ensure a recruiter’s attention is directed to the most important information. When a resume fits onto one page, it’s much easier for the recruiter to get an overview of who you are within a few seconds.
Yet it’s not always that simple. One 2018 study found that employers were 2.3 times as likely to hire a candidate with a two-page resume. They also spent more time reading the longer resumes.
So, what length is right for you: one page or two? It all comes down to how much relevant information you have to include on your resume.
If you have limited relevant experience, then it’s better to write a concise resume rather than padding it out with unimpressive details.
However, if you have significant experience or other relevant information to include, opt for a longer resume. It’s always better to go onto a second page instead of adding additional columns. You might also find a hybrid resume structure, which mixes skills with a chronological work history, lends itself to a longer resume.
That said, unless you are applying for academic or senior executive roles in the US, your resume should never be longer than two pages. Additionally, if applying for roles abroad, make sure to check local customs first. In the UK, resumes or CVs are typically two pages long, while in Singapore, they can be as long as three or four pages.
In other words, providing it doesn’t exceed two pages, your resume should be as long or as short as it needs to be to show why you’re the ideal candidate. Start by working out the information you want to include, and then you can decide how long the resume needs to be.
When writing a two-page resume, there are a few extra points to take into account. These tips will help you make the most of the extra space:
Pay attention to where the page break will be. You don’t want to cut a job description in half. You should also try to include the most important jobs on the first page.
You can use the extra space to include more details about what you achieved in previous roles, but make sure everything you mention is impressive. Stay focused on metrics, accomplishments and responsibilities that are relevant to the new role.
White space becomes even more important (and it’s already very important) when you write a longer resume. Make sure your margins are reasonably sized, there are plenty of line breaks and you use bullet points instead of paragraphs. With more black text to scan, having plenty of white space on the page will mean your resume is easier to read.
When writing a two-page resume, use this structure:
Include your full name, phone number and a professional email address. You don’t need to include your physical address, although you can if you wish. You should never include a photo, however, or information such as marital status. On the other hand, links to portfolios and/or relevant social media accounts can help you impress recruiters.
Your objective summary should be two to five sentences long and give a quick overview of your background and professional goals. If this is the only thing the recruiter reads from your resume, they should still have a fairly good idea of who you are.
It’s worth spending extra time on the skills section since a lot of information about your professional background and/or education will fall onto the second page of your resume.
Use bullet points to list the skills that are most relevant for the role, along with supporting evidence. For example, you could write “Fluent in Spanish and French: achieved C1 (Advanced) DELE and C1 (Advanced) TFI certification” or “Sales skills: Was top salesperson of the month three times in fourteen months.”
By now, you should be about thirty to fifty percent down the first page of your resume. Think carefully about whether you want your professional background or education next. Both have their pros and cons.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to prioritize the information that is most relevant to the role you’re applying for. If you’re a new graduate or are pivoting careers, you may want to put your education next. Alternatively, if you have a lot of recent and relevant experience, opt for your work history.
When including your work history, make sure to include bullet points with information about your key achievements. Generally speaking, you’ll want to include more bullet points for more relevant and/or recent roles.
If you put your professional background first, now it’s time to include your education. Alternatively, if you’ve already listed your education, add your work history.
You may also choose to include some other headers beneath this, such as certifications or associations. You can read more about these headers in our guide to the headers you should include on your resume.
Recruiters often receive dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants for a single position. As such, your resume has to be impeccable: eye-catching, well-presented, machine-readable and, most importantly of all, adapted to the role you’re applying for and your professional background.
There’s a lot to consider when creating a resume: what layout should you use? Which skills do you need to emphasize? Should you list your education or your professional experience first?
Fortunately, writing a fantastic resume doesn’t have to be guesswork. We’ve written a step-by-step guide to building a resume that will help you get started. We also have millions of resume templates that you can customize. Each one is professional, machine-readable and customized to a specific industry and job title.
What’s more, our resume builder will help you structure your resume based on your professional background and qualifications, and even suggest recruiter-approved phrasing. Whether you opt for a one-page or two-page resume, you can be sure that it will highlight your best features.
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